Washington, D.C.-based Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union (BFSFCU) has reached the threshold of returning more than $5 million in cash back to members buying and selling homes through the HomeAdvantage® program from CU Realty Services.
HomeAdvantage is a turnkey real estate marketing solution from CU Realty Services that enables credit union members to search for homes, research neighborhoods, calculate the costs of homeownership and connect to experienced real estate agents. When members use a HomeAdvantage-certified agent to buy or sell a home, they qualify to earn cash back bonuses at closing called Cash Rewards. The average member saves $1,600 per transaction.
By offering the HomeAdvantage program to members, credit unions are able to attract, identify and engage more home buyers and consequently close more loans.
With more than 87,000 nationwide members, the Washington, D.C.-headquartered BFSFCU partnered with HomeAdvantage in 2004 and was one of the first credit unions to be named to CU Realty’s Million Dollar Club when the award was established in February 2017. The Million Dollar Club recognizes high-performing credit unions that excel at using HomeAdvantage to make homeownership more affordable and have saved members a minimum of $1 million in Cash Rewards.
To date, 10 credit unions have now been inducted into the Million Dollar Club.
“For the past 15 years, Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union has dedicated a lot of effort and time to serving its members through HomeAdvantage,” said Mike Corn, president and CEO of CU Realty Services. “We are so pleased that some of our very first Million Dollar Club members are now surpassing the $5 million milestone. This achievement speaks to a steadfast commitment to making homeownership more affordable for members.”
The first credit union to reach the $5 million level was Northwest Federal Credit Union of Herndon, Virginia. Like BFSFCU, Northwest Federal Credit Union implemented CU Realty Services’ HomeAdvantage® program in 2004. It reached the $5 million mark last year by saving members an average of $2,200 per transaction.
Tyler Weepie is one of those members. Weepie liked what his credit union, Northwest Federal had to offer: a quick connection with an experienced real estate agent and Cash Rewards at closing.
“Because HomeAdvantage gave me the agent connection, I immediately found a great real estate agent. He was very understanding and patient as we looked at least a dozen places, and I had a lot of questions,” said Weepie.
After finding the perfect home, Weepie enjoyed his HomeAdvantage financial benefit at the closing table. “I decided to use my Cash Rewards towards my closing costs. Once everything was done, my actual closing costs were under $200. I was shocked when I added it all up,” Weepie said. “That really made the process golden.”
“Exceeding the $5 million mark with HomeAdvantage Cash Rewards is a very big deal for our credit union and our members,” said Joe Talmadge, vice president of mortgage lending at Northwest Federal. “We’re proud to be partnered with an organization that allows our members to save so much money, which in turn helps make their home ownership dreams come true.”
More than $41.5 million in Cash Rewards have been cumulatively distributed by credit unions during the program’s lifetime. In 2018, HomeAdvantage generated over 20,000 home buyer and seller leads back to its credit union partners and facilitated almost 4,000 closings. Last year, CU Realty clients saw mortgage pull-through rates of 82 percent or higher when their members used HomeAdvantage to buy their homes.
According to the 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of REALTORS®, 56% of all buyers start their search online as a first step, while 7% seek a lender first. The HomeAdvantage portal empowers credit unions to attract those web-savvy buyers using the online content they want and need, including property listings, market trends, agent referrals and calculators. As they engage with the site, progressive profiling converts them into leads while identifying when they plan to move and if they are pre-qualified.
“For members, HomeAdvantage provides an easy, one-stop home buying and selling experience, and our Cash Rewards make home ownership more affordable,” said Mike Corn. “For credit unions, HomeAdvantage delivers a lead-generation, nurturing and marketing automation platform so they can engage with home-buying members at the earliest stages of their home-buying journey, remain in contact and ultimately close more purchase loans!”
In August, CU Realty began offering a streamlined version of HomeAdvantage to credit unions with smaller member bases under 40,000. Before then, HomeAdvantage was implemented primarily by larger credit unions focused on using the platform as a strategy to attract, nurture and close mortgage leads. This new service level is ideal for smaller credit unions seeking to add time- and cost-saving benefits to members interested in buying and selling homes in their communities. It offers a simple plug-and-play implementation to get the basic tools of HomeAdvantage up and running quickly.
“We’re very excited to now be a value-added partner to credit unions of all sizes,” said Mike Corn, president and CEO of CU Realty Services. “This new service offering means that more credit unions than ever can help members save money on one of the most expensive transactions in their lives.”
Tina Powers, chief operating officer of CU Realty, is an accomplished business leader with more than 25 years of real estate experience. Tina oversees operations in sales, marketing, customer service, and agent relationships. She has been instrumental in expanding CU Realty Service’s national footprint, helping credit unions build better connections with both home-buying members and local real estate agents.